David Mayer has been a constant in the scene for quite some time and when being present over so many years there has to be something about you and your music. With current releases on Connected and Objektivity as well as a remix on Offering Recordings the Berlin based artists rose standards for his productions again. Nevertheless, David stays down to earth and focuses on what he likes to do and what he is good at: producing music. Torture the Artist had the chance to speak and meet David in his studio in Berlin and not only talk about his EP ‘Sirocco’ that was released yesterday, but also about his childhood, bizarre moments in the German capital, music as an universal language and much more.
Torture the Artist: You were born in southern Germany, but grew up in Norway and Lanzarote before moving to Berlin in 2004. What did you adapt from countries you grew up in that was an advantage when you came to Berlin?
David Mayer: When growing up, my family-life took me to many very different places and it is difficult to point out particular advantages I got from that. But it probably taught me a sense of what I wanted for me – not living on the countryside, for example. One could say, my appreciation for the diversity and freedom of Berlin is what I brought with me – a feeling that is still there and is shared with most other people who move here. It has a lot of history and soul and the mix of people and culture is definitely not comparable to anywhere else in Germany. A good place to get a fresh start in Germany if one comes from a multicultural background.
My first time at Berghain definitely could be that kind of moment you are referring to.
Torture the Artist: What was your most bizarre cultural moment when arriving in Berlin?
David Mayer: No doubt, my idea of nightlife was a different one when I first arrived. My first time at Berghain definitely could be that kind of moment you are referring to. I’m convinced that it still had much more of that original spirit back then – at least I was not familiar with any of the cliches everyone knows nowadays. In my bedroom studio, I had experimented with making minimal techno, but I basically only knew this kind of music from late night shows on the underground radio! I had never imagined such a temple-like place full of people who would actually just dance to that exact kind of music which I had recorded on my cassettes.
Torture the Artist: What was a habit you adapted to in Norway or Lanzarote that you had to throw overboard when living in Berlin?
David Mayer: Let me put it differently. I was used to change, starting over was a familiar experience. When I came to Berlin, I thought, this is it! I’m safe! This will now be my home and stay the way it is way forever! But of course, everything changes, and I do not mean that in a bad way – there’s just so many surprises! So I kind of had to re-learn that change is simply inevitable, even if one decides to stay at one place. But I think I like what change is doing for me.
Music can definitely be seen as a language for itself. Although to me music may not only be soundwaves, but it’s also like a roof over my head.
Torture the Artist: As you speak German, English, Norwegian and Spanish, what language do you want to speak with your music?
David Mayer: Music can definitely be seen as a language for itself. Although to me music may not only be soundwaves, but it’s also like a roof over my head. Every track is a brick in the wall of a place everyone can enter if they only wish to do so. Kind of like the whole universe.
It’s that voodoo drum that gets to me.
Torture the Artist: Over the past few months a lot of your productions have seen the day of light. All of them having the typical Mayer-vibe that highly focuses on percussions in order to create rhytmical music beasts. Where does that rhytmical approach of your music come from?
David Mayer: It is funny because that vibe you are speaking of, I think I could not avoid that coming through, even if I wanted to. To me, particularly drums and percussion have always been my focus, although I could only try an attempt to explain where that comes from. It’s that voodoo drum that gets to me. When looking back on the music I listened to as a kid, everything is just really loopy and drum heavy! I like to say that I like my drums to sound like a drumset that’s bing kicked down the stairs, rattling and rumbling, crisp and rough – the kind of sound you find ion old funk and blues recordings, but also on Wu-Tang records. That image of the drumset falling down a staircase once came to me while listening to Jimi Hendrix. Not sure if that ‘ideal’ of a drumsound is fully audible in all of my productions, but it’s there.
I gotta say, with only one single and a remix, both tracks are forming a unity I don’t want to miss.
Torture the Artist: Your remix for Boddhi Satva’s track ‘Love Will’ was just released on Offering Recordings and your next release for Dennis Ferrer’s label Objektivity is already on its way. What’s the track you are mostly emotionally tied to from your upcoming EP on Objektivity, and why?
David Mayer: I gotta say, with only one single and a remix, both tracks are forming a unity I don’t want to miss. It all started with the original, of course, but there was no track which would really fit on it’s side, and some of the remixers we asked even declined because they did not know how to break it down into a remix. But then Jonathan’s remix came on point, using a great amount of elements from the original, but bringing it to a whole different place. You can play both tracks after one another in the same set.
Torture the Artist: How did working with Objektivity come about?
David Mayer: I had the track finished for quite some time, and typically I would try to combine it with another one… but the combinations I came up with did not cut it. So I sat down thinking of labels I had access to and might be down with that kind of sound. So I sent it off to two or three labels, looking to see where they would take it from there. André Hommen of Objektivity gave the green light and instantly agreed that it shoud become a single with just one remix.
Torture the Artist: Name and artist you would like to work with on one of your future productions, and why?
David Mayer: During the past two years I was lucky to meet a few people who became very accessible just at the right time. I love it when there is this very natural, relaxed and creative vibe going on, just coming out of nowhere, so I try to catch that and fully embrace it when it comes along. Who to work with has partially decided itself, as I am already stoked to be working with Nico Stojan, Stereo MC’s, Floyd Lavine… I recently exchanged files with Mr. Raoul K. Also looking into reapproaching that live project with NGHT DRPS. But enough is enough, right now I am very happy with everything that is happening and I want to focus on what I have at hand. Ask me again in a year or so. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: Generally speaking, what’s a track of yours that made you further your career?
David Mayer: From the first release and on I was sucked into it, I had more opportunities than I could understand how to make use of at the time. But your question makes one track pop into my head, which came two ears after my first release: „Fortune“, released on Paso Music in 2011. That track is very raw, a good example of how free I could and should allow myself to be. That release generally taught me many lessons. For instance, when I found it being played by the likes of Richie Hawtin, Joris Voorn and Dubfire, this made me understand that I am really on to something and that all I have to do is to chase down that creative moment. Still on the hunt.
Obviously I was a kid in the nineties, and it was mostly Hiphop and Rap music I was driven by.
Torture the Artist: How much does the music you produce and you are into now differ from the music you enjoyed during your teenage days?
David Mayer: Obviously I was a kid in the nineties, and it was mostly Hiphop and Rap music I was driven by. But I also liked to listen to anything freaky I could get hold of really. John Peel did a lot for me. I experimented with listening to Drum & Bass, Jungle, Punk, Reggae, Dub, Acid Jazz. But also lots of Soul, Neo Soul, Funk, Blues and R&B from the 60’s and 70’s… actually none of that has changed much, except that the Hiphop nowadays sounds a little different and I was introduced to more Electronic music a little later. The way I listen to things is different and the internet opens up everything, nothing compared to digging through piles of CD’s at the local WOM store.
Torture the Artist: Most of your tracks are aiming at the dance floors and are club oriented. What type of track have you always wanted to produce, but does not fit your current releases?
David Mayer: What defines my output as you see it today has never been my only approach to making music. Ever since I got my first Workstation with 14, I always challenged my equipment to see what styles of music I could possibly imitate without having a real band at hand… sometimes I stumble over some old piece on my HD and it actually is amazing that one can make serious classical music, jazz, reggae, funk and so forth, all just within the box. In my early twenties I thought that I would go into music production and sound design for advertisement. Took a different turn, but there is still that appeal. I can make anything fit into my catalogue, all it needs is the right time.
Torture the Artist: What music or tracks do you listen to, when trying to get away from electronic or club music in general?
David Mayer: Although I do not get listen to music as much as I would like to, since I make music instead or enjoy the silence inbetween, the music I would listen to at home is usually closely related to Soul music and generally music rooted in Africa. I love listening to those brilliant mixes you can find on Soundcloud. Do you know RadioLoveLove? (https://soundcloud.com/radiolovelove) A good starting point…
Torture the Artist: Your artist and real name are equal. How do you differentiate between the two persona, e.g. when interacting on your social media, and how do people know who is speaking since your posts on your private account and artist page do not differ?
David Mayer: There is not any distinction between myself and myself. Also on social media it is always me speaking. You can find two or more accounts just because, whatever. I never followed through with the concept of a really ‘private’ account anywhere and started to add strangers right from the start. The way the blocking-algorithms work these days, it appears to me that the private accounts help to reach more people when it comes to spreading the news without paying for sponsored links. Just like using different platforms may help, too.
I do not see a benefit in telling strangers about my anger or frustration, spreading flawed thoughts like bad seeds.
Torture the Artist: Speaking of social media, on which you are quite active, what information would you never share on one of your accounts/pages and what topic/issue would you never discuss on them?
David Mayer: I use my socials to inform people about my music and my gigs, for finding information about new music and networking with friends and affiliates. It is such a great tool to get in touch, keep in touch and initiate new relationships with people you would usually not meet every day. But for sure, any negativity has no place in all of this. I do not see a benefit in telling strangers about my anger or frustration, spreading flawed thoughts like bad seeds. If I have some sort of a problem, I prefer to talk to people in real life and learn how to deal with it. I strive not to find myself hate, rant or impulsively share emotional outbreaks about stuff that can and will not be changed by doing so. You will, however, find me share my happiness and appreciation for all the beautiful things that are happening to me and my friends <smiles>
My shoes are the kickdrum and lo-toms.
Torture the Artist: Imagine your music is an outfit. What‘s the stem for each piece of clothes you are wearing?
David Mayer: Easy! My shoes are the kickdrum and lo-toms, my jeans represent the bluenote-bass, the percussion drumcircle sits like a toolbelt around my waist. My white T-shirt would be the background noise, the jersey would be those warm chords and melodies. Then my gloves would be clap and snare and my jacket would be the effects to cover everything up nice and smooth. Finally my scarf represents the shakers on top of it all and, of course, my hat would be… the HiHat.
Torture the Artist: What‘s the author of your choice to write your biography?
David Mayer: Roald Dahl.